Bible Study

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Bible Study: Proper 15 (B) – 2012

August 19, 2012

Proverbs 9:1-6

In this passage, Wisdom builds her house and lays her table for all, and most especially for the simple. In the previous chapter, she has called out for all people to follow her. Indeed, she claims that whoever finds her, also finds the Lord and life. She calls all people to herself, asking them to “lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight.” Ancient Jewish tradition thought of Wisdom almost as a person; some believed she was God’s first offspring, the one who assisted in Creation, others thought of her as God’s wife. Later Jewish philosophers, such as Philo, called her the LogosLogos is a Greek word for “Word” or “Reason” that early Christians used to speak of Jesus (“In the beginning was the Word (Logos)” John 1:1.)

  • In this passage, Wisdom prefigures the all-encompassing welcome of Jesus, who invited prostitutes and tax collectors to join him at table. She invites all who are simple as He invites all who are weary and heavy-laden. God’s invitation is open to all, in both Old and New Testaments. How can you be one of Wisdom’s servant-girls, and invite all to her table?

Psalm 111

Great are the deeds of the Lord! The psalmist praises God for all of God’s marvelous works, for God’s graciousness and compassion. Particularly, the psalmist mentions God’s gift of food “to those who fear him.” We don’t often think of God working this way, because we see so many deserving people go hungry. Clearly, not all who fear God have enough food to eat. But God has also sent redemption to his people, which should make us mindful that God will redeem those who are hungry from those who oppress them; as the Magnificat proclaims, when the hungry are filled with good things, the rich are sent empty away.

  • We pray that God’s redemption might be made manifest here on earth as in heaven, but are we prepared for the reversals that will bring to our society? Are we prepared to fulfill our role as God’s hands in the world to make His will a reality, even if it may mean a material loss to ourselves?

Ephesians 5:15-20

The author of Ephesians commends to us the task the psalmist has just done: “Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves.” Praise the Lord, he writes, and give thanks to God always, in the name of Christ.

  • For what are you particularly thankful? If singing is not your forte, how can you best express that thankfulness to God?
  • How does this idea of thankfulness and praise tie in with God’s abundant welcome as shown in Wisdom’s table? How can you carry that with you at all times, not just when singing?

John 6:51-58

As Wisdom invited all to her table, and as the psalmist declared that God would give food to those who fear him, so Jesus declares that He will give His own body for food for the life of the world. Jesus is the very Bread of Life that nourishes us in times of hardship.

This in no way excuses those of us who have ordinary bread from sharing with our neighbors who have none – far from it! If Jesus gives His own body for our food, we must be generous with what we have and give to others. But Jesus declares that the food that God will give will be greater than mere bread. Christ abides in those who receive Him, and they abide in Him.

Through the Eucharist, we are connected with Christ eternally, and made one with Him. Through the Eucharist, we are assured eternal life. But that life is not meant for us alone. We are charged to cry out, like Wisdom and her servant-girls, to invite everyone in, that all might share in Christ’s living bread, not just in the Eucharist, but in the community of love and shared burdens that is Christ’s Body, the church.

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Christopher Sikkema


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